Kebap– can’t go wrong for a meat-eater. Sometimes served with salad, sometimes on top of fries or bread, sometimes topped with yogurt and/or tomato sauce. A lot of dishes are served with a nicely spicy pepper.
Salads– These can be simple, usually just tomatoes and greens, frequently served with wicked spicy pickled peppers.
Manti– Ravioli pastas stuffed with meat and herbs, covered in tomato sauce and yogurt
Pide– Basically Turkish pizza. Delicious.
Gozleme– Savory pancake! Similar to a tortilla sometimes. Potato, cheese, egg, or meat are common types.
Künefe– A sweet pastry of some sort shredded and layered over a center of hot cheese- delicious served with a scoop of ice cream on top.
Baclava– One of many assorted pastries. There are many different qualities of baclava, from syrupy and oversweet, to subtly sweet, with honey, combined with a heavy dose of crushed pistachio, wrapped in a light, airy bread wrapping.
Turkish ice cream– interesting flavors, different texture. Many of the servers are very skillful at messing with you- you have to work for your ice cream; you grab for it and it is not there, or perhaps you are holding an empty cone…
Yogurt and honey– They love yogurt here. Delicious with honey. Pretty self explanatory.
Turkish breakfast– This is an experience. If you find a good one, you can spend two hours eating it! Let’s see, there is an omelette, hopefully with cheese inside, from two to seven different types of cheese, jam, nutella, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, butter, honey, and lots of bread. Sometimes the eggs are mixed with tomato sauce.
*Once, in Konya, part of our breakfast was a plate of french fries WITH KETCHUP!!! It had been so long. They have ketchup flavored chips, and they put french fries in your doner kebaps sometimes, but fries with ketchup is largely unappreciated in Europe and I felt a bit homesick as I lovingly shovelled this totally inappropriate and out-of-place dish into my eager gullet.
Chai- People drink this everywhere, all the time, out of special glasses. Almost always like Lipton tea, really. Sometimes they have apple tea, which is delicious. The front cover of the Lonely Planet book on Turkey is a cup of tea, if that tells you anything. Everywhere. Always.
*The word for tea across asia is “chai.” (“Çay” in Turkish, same pronunciation.) Even in Japanese it is “ocha,” so close! So “chai tea” means “tea tea.” So stupid! Haha.
Turkish coffee– Dark and muddy, pretty good, though I miss filtered coffee.
Ayran– Fermented yogurt drink. Pretty tasty, though I am told a lot of Westerners don’t like it. A bit sour. Usually prepackaged like this.
Şalgam Suyu– “Fermented purple carrot juice.” We are not sure if they mean beets or not, sometimes the word turnip is used. Either way, it is a purple, bloody colored drink that is loaded with garlic and spices. Frequently served in a bottle as well.
This isn’t really specific to Turkey, but sometimes you are surprised when the baker hands you a loaf:
I bought this loaf of bread yesterday and if I had to guess, it weighs around seven pounds. It is delicious.